Patient Story - Paul

Sleeping Sound With DBS

The process to undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) was years in the making for Paul, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005. Unable to sleep due to tremors on his right side, Paul knew it was time to pursue DBS. But he was living on the East Coast at the time and the closest medical facility did not offer DBS.

Not willing to take “no” for an answer, Paul moved to Colorado, and after more than a year of obstacles, Paul underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) performed by neurosurgeon David VanSickle, MD, PhD, founder of the Denver DBS Center. Today, Paul is sleeping sound and his medication usage has been cut nearly in half.

Concerned about the effects DBS may have on Paul’s mental state given the lengthy ordeal Paul went through prior to being approved for surgery, Dr. VanSickle recommended the Awake DBS procedure be broken up into two phases—one on the right side and the other on the left side.

Awake DBS consists of three surgeries, two of which are done while the patient is awake to ensure proper electrode placement and testing. Paul underwent the first series of surgeries in December 2011 and his final surgeries were completed in July 2012.

Today, Paul can sleep through the night and write, something he had not been able to do for nearly six years. Insured through Medicare, nearly all of Paul’s entire DBS procedure was covered, costing him little out of pocket.

“Despite the obstacles and the numerous surgeries, I would choose to get DBS again in a heartbeat,” Paul says.

Paul is part of a support group for people with movement disorders and hopes that his story inspires others with Parkinson’s disease to consider DBS.


The Denver DBS Center is one of only a few facilities in the world to offer both Awake and Asleep deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Denver DBS Center performs more DBS surgeries than any other Colorado DBS center. Exceptional patient care, superior electrode placement—the most vital aspect of DBS surgery—and a commitment to partnering with patients’ neurologists make the Denver DBS Center the top choice in the region. The Denver DBS Center is an affiliation of Neurosurgery One (formerly South Denver Neurosurgery).